I remember being terrified of Alivia getting sick for the first time. I'd make everyone wash their hands before holding her. I'd tell her cousins they were only allowed to touch her feet (in fear that they would make her sick). We didn't put her in the church nursery for the first 9 months of her life because we knew doing so would mean immediate illness. We did everything in our power to keep her healthy...and it worked.
The problem with this realm of thought, I've learned, is that eventually, your baby will get sick. It's unavoidable. And in all truth, a sick baby is considerably more resilient than a sick toddler. We put alivia in the church nursery at 9 months old and for a good 10 months after, she was sick...nonstop sick. Anything from a runny nose to barfing her brains out. She was always sick. I felt like it would never end (don't worry, it eventually did!).
Now we are on phase two: Judah. At a mere 5 weeks old, his big sister got pneumonia and ended up in the ER, allergic to penicillin. It was the worst 2 weeks of my life...watching my sweet livie in so much agony, still healing from my delivery and keeping Judah, my tiny newborn, away from all sickness. I almost lost it. I cried every single day from the emotional and physical stress of it all. But although that experience was a difficult one, I learned a lot from it. Most importantly I learned that you have to let go.
As parents, our instinct is to protect our children from everything. But there are just factors in this world that we can't always win against. Perhaps the most simple of them all is illness. Having a second child, I had to learn to let go early. Any and every illness that Alivia gets, Judah is soon to get thereafter. In his short 9 months of life, he's been sick 4 or 5 times. Thankfully they have only been colds...but illness none the less. We've kept him out of the church nursery, avoided other sick kids...but still, liv is enough exposure to give him the goods.
I'm finding myself relieved more than exhausted by this. Let me be clear that I hate seeing my baby sick, but my son has a building immunity, one that will hopefully hold up well when his big sister goes to preschool in the fall. No antibiotics...just good ole fashion illness...letting his little body do what God created it to do. I'm not frantic like I use to be. I handle it one at a time, taking necessary precautions to keep myself healthy (because we all know the world stops when mommy gets sick)...it's funny, but I feel a little un-phased by it all. It's such a MAJOR difference from what I felt as a new mom...it's kind of refreshing.
All this to say that it's good to let go...it's good to admit to yourself that you can't control everything in your children's lives, and that the energy spent frantic about keeping a healthy home could be better spent elsewhere.
Oh...and word from the wise: Emergen-c in the morning and at night while your kids are sick, will keep momma healthy. It's worked for me every time :-)